[Review] Lorenzo Lepori's 'Notte Nuda'

Reunions among friends are wonderful things. Imagining two people whose paths are crossing for the first time in ages brings thoughts of grabbing lunch at that nice cafe downtown, or a drink or two at the local watering hole. Catching up on each other’s lives and other forms of reminiscence are just as par for the course.

Burying a dead sex worker in the woods after a robbery gone wrong? Not my first thought, that’s for bloody sure.

So goes it for Paolo (Pascal Persiano) and Andrea (Henrj Bartolini) in writer/director Lorenzo Lepori’s latest creature feature, Notte Nuda (Italian for “Naked Night”). The film, clocking in at just over an hour, delivers on the title, with devastating kills and titillating thrills abound.

The first two kills come in the form of a couple living in the woods (Pio Bisanti and Concetta Pagliarella), and these set the tone for things to come. By this brutality, the viewer is introduced to a vampire (Sinona Vannelli) and a werewolf-like creature known in Italian as Boscaiolo (“The Wood Man”, played by Pascal Persiano). Stick a pin in these two monsters, as they will take a backseat to the best friends’ tale for now.

Paolo and Andrea reconnect after years apart. Andrea has new arm candy in the form of Milena (Yana Proshinka), who titters as Andrea regales Paolo with the story of how the couple first met. Following the meal, the three prepare for a night of partying that gets the montage treatment, featuring a very trippy track in the background. Back and forth cuts between dancing and a menage a trois saturate this scene, which ends with the dreaded morning after.

How’s that for “long time, no see?”

Without giving too much of the penultimate act away, the morning after brings more than just hangovers. What follows is a bonding experience for Paolo and Andrea, albeit one that neither man could have envisioned.

Notte Nuda is a visual feast. Sex and violence sell in horror, and viewers can surely find generous amounts of both in this film. For being made on such a small budget, the gore and aftermath of kills look sick. The banter between Paolo and Andrea works on all fronts, and made me actually care about the two friends as characters. The color palette for the woods scenes adds to the atmosphere, punctuating the carnage that takes place within them. If I could pick one thing to change, I wish I could have had more of the creatures, specifically Simona Vannelli, whose relevance comes to light in the twist ending that had me sitting in my seat, mouth agape.

Go out of your way to check out Notte Nuda. This creature horror between old friends was a treat to take in.


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